Biniamar is a small village of three hundred people at the eastern foot of the Sierra Tramuntana in Mallorca. Its name, like that of many other place

Poemas del río Wang: The cathedral that failed

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2023-01-26 08:30:05

Biniamar is a small village of three hundred people at the eastern foot of the Sierra Tramuntana in Mallorca. Its name, like that of many other places in Mallorca beginning with Bini, comes from the fact that during the Muslim kingdom of Mallorca (902-1229), an Arab or Berber tribe lived here, who considered themselves the sons (bani) of a common ancestor, in the case of Biniamar, the sons of Amar (bani Amar). In the centuries following the Catalan conquest, Amar’s sons became Catalan peasants and good Catholics. Their medieval church was dedicated to Saint Thecla, disciple of Saint Paul and an early patron of female autonomy, whose veneration was widespread among the Catalan conquerors. The cathedral of Tarragona in Catalonia is also dedicated to her, where she is celebrated in every September with a spectacular ten-day (!) procession.

In Biniamar, however, the most famous shrine is not the church of Saint Thecla, but the one called Església Nova, the New Church. However, this building is not marked as a church on the map, and although the commemorative plaque bolted to its façade in 2010 celebrates its centenary, it was never actually consecrated. You can only see why on site: because it has no roof, and never had. The ribs that start as cross vaults from the consoles above the Gothic arches of the side aisles stop immediately after starting, and the building is open to the sky. That is why the church is also called the Unfinished Cathedral.

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